Abhayagiri monastery, (in) Anuradhapura, North Central Province, SL

Raw data

"The earliest pottery imports belong to the Tang dynasty (AD 618-906) (Pramathilaka 1990). Chinese ceramics are found on both inland and coastal sites. Inland sites include Buddhist monasteries such as Jetavanaramaya, Abahayagiriya and Mihintale in north central province in Sri Lanka."

on the outskirts of Anuradhapura - monastery: Abhayagiri, or Abhayagiri Vihara

Abhayagiri Vihara - The Northem Monastery (Uttararamaya)

Abhayagiri. Lit. Mount Fearless. Mountain in Sri Lanka [at Anuradhapura, in its monastery a broad school of the Sthavirah arose. Src: Muller (1995a-present)] with an ancient monastery where Fa-hien A. D. 400 [Faxian] found 5,000 monks. Src: Eitel (1888:1)
Input by: tmciolek, 24 Jan 2009

"The heterdox Mahayanists founded the Abhayagiri Vihara." - http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/anuradhapura

"Vaṭṭagāmaṇī Abhaya - Abhayagiri (monastery, Anurādhapura, Sri Lanka)
important ancient Theravāda Buddhist monastic centre (vihāra) built by King Vaṭṭagāmaṇi Abhaya (29–17 bc) on the northern side of Anurādhapura, the capital of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) at that time."

Input by: tmciolek, 12 Nov 2012

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 29 Sep 2012

Lat/Long coordinates' accuracy:
The monastery in question is assumed to be situated actually no farther than 200 m from the point defined by the coordinates below.

Location of Abhayagiri monastery, Sri Lanka.

General location of the Abhayagiri monastery, Sri Lanka.
Lat 8.3710 Long 80.3952
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (http://maps.fallingrain.com), 2009.

Google Map link:


Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

  • Abhayagiri (Eitel 1888:1)

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • Sri Lanka:North Central Province

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

  • Approx. Lat 8.3710 Long 80.3952 - based on the visual identification of the site in satellite imagery, maps.google.com - tmciolek, 8 Sep 2012.

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

6. Modern name of the known nearest city, town, or village

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

  • [missing data]

11. Date-early

  • Founded by King Vatta Gamini Abhaya (Valagamba) (r. 89-77 B.C.) - Kulatunga (1999:2)
  • MBM chrono-tag: <=0200 - tmciolek 13 Dec 2012
  • <=0200 0200-32c 0233-66c 0267-99c 0300-32c 0333-66c 0367-99c 0400-32c 0433-66c 0467-99c 0500-32c 0533-66c 0567-99c 0600-32c 0633-66c 0667-99c 0700-32c 0733-66c 0767-99c 0800-32c 0833-66c 0867-99c 0900-32c 0933-66c 0967-99c 1000-32c 1033-66c 1067-99c 1100-32p dated-el

12. Date-intermediate

  • King Mahasena [r. 275 to 301 AD - tmc] transfers a statue of the Buddha (originally from Thuparama) from Pabbata to Abhayagiri monastery (Edirisinghe 2010)
  • 400 AD (Eitel 1888:1)

13. Date-late

  • Deserted soon after 1070 A.D. when the capital (together with its civilian population and monks) has shifted from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruva for strategic reasons - Kulatunga (1999:3-4)
  • MBM chrono-tag: 1067-99c - tmciolek 13 Dec 2012
  • 1067-99c 1100-32p

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • King Mahasena [r. 275 to 301 AD - tmc] transfers a statue of the Buddha (originally from Thuparama) from Pabbata to Abhayagiri monastery (Edirisinghe 2010)

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • [missing data]

16. Additional notes

  • 5,000 monks in 400 AD (Eitel 1888:1)
  • "When the Tooth Relic arrived in Sri Lanka during the reign of king Kitsirimevan, the Abhayagiri was made the custodian of the sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha." - Kulatunga (1999:3)

17. Corrections & addenda to this page were kindly provided by

  • [missing data]

18. Available Printed Literature

  • Kulatunga, T. G. 1999. Abhayagiri Vihara at Anuradhapura. Colombo: Ministry of Cultural and Religious Affairs, Central Cultural Fund.
  • [bibliographical details of the Book/Article 2]
  • [bibliographical details of the Book/Article 3]

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